The 5th step of my The Authentic, Empowered, Connected - 9 Step Personal Transformation Process is called Learn to be Assertive. I have a keen interest in developing assertiveness in myself and teaching about the difference between aggressiveness, passiveness and assertiveness.
I just finished Doreen Virtue’s book Assertiveness for Earth Angelsand I highly recommend it especially if you are a sensitive type of person caught into the “being nice” limiting belief. The following is from the book:
“Assertiveness means that you’re aware of your feelings and opinions and that you state them to yourself and others in a way that respects other people’s rights.
An assertive person is kind, peaceful, and gentle yet never apologizes for his or her feelings, because feelings are to be honored and respected. Assertiveness is spiritually Divine, because it’s a way of interacting that acknowledges that you are one and equal with others.”
I come to believe that assertiveness is the path to peace, internal peace and interpersonal peace. Sometimes we are passive; we say nothing, because we believe that by being nice we avoid conflict. This is only apparent, as we are often left with an internal conflict, we know we were not truthful to ourselves. We are also create a hidden interpersonal conflict as the other person usually senses our disappointment or resistance even if they may not be consciously aware or they don't say anything.
Sometimes we are aggressive because we feel trapped in a situation that does not feel good but we don’t know how to go about it. We don’t recognize our feelings because they don’t make sense logically. For example, when someone asks you to go someplace nice with them but you feel like you don’t want to and you try to come up with a logical reason of not wanting to go, but you cannot. You then might turn around and be angry that the person asked you in the first place. We wish that others will leave us alone and believe that they should not demand things of us. After we display our aggressiveness we are left feeling guilty; after all they asked us to go with them someplace nice, and we created a conflict apparently for no reason. It is very probable that your anger has nothing to do with the person or with their request, but with you. Maybe you promised yourself to rest more. You probably have difficulties saying no and this friend was just the one that got you off balance. Who knows?
If you can recognize how you feel, understand it for yourself you will be able to be assertive and say something like “I made a promise to myself to rest more and I cannot go with you. I appreciate your invitation though.”
Being assertive means owning our power, which is empowerment. This leads to self-confidence and internal peace. And when we are at peace it's easy to keep peace with others too.
Your Strategic Achievement Assignment:
Think about a request someone made of you that left you resentful. Were you passive or aggressive with your response? What did you actually feel? How would you put your answer in an assertive manner?
Please comment below and let me know if this exercise helped you realize a better way of responding.
Peace be with you,